Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Forgiveness is a cover
Tuesday December 06, 2005

Dear Ms. Miller.

Thank you for your warm words and congratulations.
I wrote a very honest and straightforward letter to my mother, describing in detail and without mercy how she abused and neglected me (my father, unfortunately, is suffering from dementia). I expected her to deny it all, as she did all my life. But I had a surprise. She wrote me a letter in which she admits everything I said, telling me how painful it must have been for me, and how sorry she is for being such a mother, a woman too afraid of her own feelings and thus unable to see her children's pain.
This letter made me cry and feel my pain stronger than ever. It also makes me feel I want to forgive my mother for what she has done. But this forgiveness frightens me. I am afraid forgiving my mother will block the pain that I have not yet fully experienced. I'm afraid it will get me back to where I started.
What do you think about this? How dangerous is forgiveness in this situation? I will appreciate your reply greatly.

"Norman"

AM: I may be able to write you more in the next few days but I want to answer your question right away: Yes, you are right, forgiveness is a cover, it will "get you back to where you started" and will not help your mother either. Only she can help herself if she is ready to feel the pain ( this is possible in every age). Try to feel with the child you once were and don't ignore his suffering. Stay with HIM now and explain him that your mothers letter doesn't change anything of what happened THEN and what he had to endure alone, without any helping witness for such a long time. Be this witness to him, do not put new burdens like forgiveness on him. They would block your work again. Barbara will write you too.

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